Cruisin' The Loop Aboard Kibon
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Thursday, December 4, 2003
Pearce has been wishing Kay "Happy Birthday" for the last 3 or 4 days.  She says "Come on, don't you know my birthday by now?"  Pearce said, "Of course I know your birthday.  I just don't know what day today is."  So that is what boating is -- days no longer matter.  What really is important is what we mean to each other, and what we mean to our family and friends.  This is very hard to explain.   Before we got on our boat, it was very important to keep dates and appointments.  It was very important to chat with friends, to try to keep within "the loop", to maintain contacts.  All of these are still very important, but it is no longer necessary to keep the schedule.  We are here today, and we pray that we are here tomorrow to continue whatever we decide to do.  We plan to keep our friends and family in close contact as we travel south to our home in Boynton Beach.

It was foggy this morning, and the sun was hidden for a few hours.  We crossed the St. John's River, but we had to slow down to allow a big barge under tow that was headed out to sea.  There was a Navy ship getting ready to leave the dock, too.  All the little tug boats were whistling away, but we had plenty of time to cross the river before they started out.  There is a new bridge being constructed over the ICW at Wonderwood just past the river at mile 742.  There was a sailboat with us that has a mast height of 61', and he was concerned because no one has made an official reading on the bridge height.  He had seen a story on TV recently that said the bridge was lower than the required 65' height.  He called the Coast Guard who said the sign boards may or may not be accurate.  Another sailboat said he had just gone through, and the sign board read 61'3".  Sea Tow said they'd heard that there was a bit more room than that, but they recommended he wait until low tide to be sure.  Sea Tow said they had also heard that the bridge would be at least 5" less than that 65' height when it is finally finished.  That seems to be at low tide, too.  The Coast Guard said they had reports of boats with 59' mast having trouble there, but they would "ask the bridge owner" to come up with an accurate measurement. Great for sometime in the future, but at little tough on the 61' mast today. So what are they going to do?  Raise the bridge? Lower the water? Stay tuned.

We continued down through Palm Valley.  This is a six mile no-wake zone, reportedly the "longest and strangest" in all of Florida.  The houses line the east bank, but the boats are either in marinas behind the houses or up on davits.  The houses range from small shacks to multi-million dollar extravaganzas.  We arrived in St. Augustine where we tied up at the Municipal Marina.  We went into town for lunch and some sightseeing.  We wandered in and out of art galleries and admired Flagler's hotels.  We went into the Ponce de Leon which is now Flagler College.  We were too late for the tours, and the public is not allowed to roam.  We tried to see the Tiffany windows, but all we could see were a matched pair on either side of the main staircase.  Imagine being a student and living in this wonderful place!  Flagler also built the Alcazar Hotel across the street which is now City Hall and the Lightner Museum.  There's a statue of Pedro Menendez de Aviles in front of this hotel.  He is credited with the founding of St. Augustine in 1565.

We were heading across the market square toward the waterfront when we spied a familiar face.  Jim Connelly, a friend from Narrasketuck Yacht Club back home in New York, was sitting on a bench reading the paper.  What a surprise!  Jim had left Long Island several weeks before us and had been leisurely heading south toward his ultimate destination of Key West.  We agreed to meet him in a while at the Trade Winds Pub for the Happy Hour.  We then walked down St. George Street which is one of the old streets filled with shops and homes.  After a quick stop back at the Marina to pick up our mail and drop off our purchases, we met Jim at the pub.  We had a nice few hours exchanging sea stories. 

Friday, December 5, 2003
We spent a few more hours this morning visiting more historic sites on our walk to the ABC store.  We were one vodka shy of making it home, so we went as far west as we had yesterday, and then some.  If we'd asked where the liquor store was yesterday, we would have saved some shoe leather.  We found the home of another Confederate soldier and professor at the University of the South.  Surprisingly, General Kirby-Smith was no relation to Pearce, but it was interesting to find this connection in St. Augustine.

We hurried back to the boat and were underway by noon just as the sun finally broke through the clouds.  It was warm enough this afternoon to take off the sweaters.  We enjoyed a quiet run past beach homes of all kinds.  We passed Mantanzas Inlet and the fort that was erected to defend the southern approach to St. Augustine.  This is where the remnants of a French fleet sought shelter after a storm.  Menendez (mentioned above) rescued them, fed them, and then slaughtered all but those who were Catholics.  Matanzas means slaughters. He was following his Spanish king's commands to remove all French forces from the New World.  He just over interpreted the words "remove from the world".   We saw two colonies of white pelicans resting on the shoals.  Both groups were huddled together and seemed to be ignoring the other birds that were resting in the same area.  I've never seen them fraternizing with the regular pelicans.  Tonight we've stopped at the Concrete Plant where we anchored last June.  It's also a Sea Ray plant.  Last June we were joined by several other boats, but today we seem to be the only boat here (except for all the new Sea Rays at the docks).  We cleated a line from one of their poles to our stern.  It makes the boat stable enough for the TV to work, and we are watching the New York stations reporting on the blizzard up there. And we felt bad when the cold snap dropped our early morning temperature below fifty!

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